Hugh Gusterson

Hugh Gusterson

Professor of International Affairs and Anthropology
Faculty: Full-Time
Hortense Amsterdam House 101
Phone: 202-994-6832
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Militarism, nuclear culture, anthropology of science, ethics, international security, public anthropology, methods.

Dr. Gusterson’s research focuses on the interdisciplinary study of the conditions under which particular bodies of knowledge are formed and deployed, with special attention to the science of war, the military, and nuclear weapons. His research addresses the problem of how to understand knowledge as a cultural formation, and how to analyze the historical and structural transformations of science and technology. He asks questions such as: How do cultures of science initiate and shape participants? How can we critically assess universalist claims about scientific and military “truths?” How do scientists justify their complicity with the projects of nation-states?


PhD. 1992, Stanford University
M.A. 1986, Stanford University
M.Sc. 1982, University of Pennsylvania
B.A. 1980 (Modern History), Cambridge University, first class Honours



2016  Gusterson, H. Drone: Remote Control Warfare. Boston: MIT Press, 2016.

2010  Anderson, D.S., H. Gusterson. Understanding Teen Drinking Cultures in America. (Report to The Century Council). Fairfax, VA: George Mason University

2009  Gusterson, H., and C. Besteman, eds. The Insecure American.  Berkeley, CA: Univ. of California Press.

2009  Union of Concerned Scientists (1 of 3 lead editors). The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual: Or, Notes on Demilitarizing American Society. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.

2005  Besteman, C., and H. Gusterson, eds. Why America’s Top Pundits Are Wrong: Anthropologists Talk Back.  Berkeley, CA: Univ. of California Press.

2004  Gusterson, H. People of the Bomb: Portraits of America’s Nuclear ComplexMinneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

1999   Weldes, J., M. Laffey, H. Gusterson, and R. Duvall, eds. Cultures of Insecurity: States, Communities, and the Production of Danger.  Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

1996  Gusterson, H. Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

2014  Gusterson, H. “Toward an anthropology of drones.” In M. Evangelista and H. Shue, eds., The American Way of Bombing: Changing Ethical and Legal Norms from Flying Fortresses to Drones. Cornell Univ. Press, pp. 191-206.

2012  Gusterson, H. “Can the insurgent speak?” In T. Barkawi and K. Stanski, eds., Orientalism and War. Hurst, pp. 83-104.

2008  Gusterson, H. “Nuclear futures: Anticipatory knowledge, expert judgment, and the lack that cannot be filled,” Science and Public Policy 35(8): 551-560.

2008  Gusterson, H. “Paranoid potbellied Stalinist gets nuclear weapons: How the U.S. print media cover North Korea,” Nonproliferation Review 15(1): 21-42.

2001  Gusterson, H. “The virtual nuclear weapons laboratory in the New World Order,” American Ethnologist 28 (1): 417-437.

1999  Gusterson, H. “Feminist militarism,” Political and Legal Anthropology Review 22(2): 17-26.

1999  Gusterson, H. “Missing the end of the Cold War in international security." In J. Weldes, M. Laffey, H. Gusterson & R. Duvall, eds., Cultures of Insecurity: States, Communities, and the Production of Danger. Univ. of Minnesota Press, pp. 319-345.

1999  Gusterson, H. “Nuclear weapons and the other in the Western imagination,” Cultural Anthropology 14(1): 111-143.



2016  Buchdahl Lectureship, North Carolina State University
2014-15  Resident scholar, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
2014  Scholar's Award, National Science Foundation
2013-15  President-elect, American Ethnological Society
2013  President’s Award, American Anthropological Association

Classes Taught

Anth 1000:  Substances and Society
Anth 1002:  Sociocultural Anthropology
Anth 6391:  Topics: Capitalism and Neoliberalism
Anth 6391:  Topics: Social Study of Science and Technology


Last updated March 17, 2017